Ozomatli on Harvest Festival line-up

OZOMATLI know all about marketing.

But when they were first coming through 18 years ago the version of viral marketing they were doing was live shows.

"On a weekend we would play 14 times," Raul Pacheco, guitarist and vocalist, tells Pulse.

Within a year the Los Angeles band were playing to a 15,000-strong crowd on the Santa Monica pier.

"I remember the pier was shaking," he says.

Over the years the band has had up to 10 musicians on stage with their infectious Latin, hip-hop and funk grooves earning them a reputation as one of the most interactive live acts.

Looking back to the band's early days is what is inspiring the next album.

"We've been remembering sounds from when we were younger," Pacheco says.

"Just the type of jump sounds we were into back then as well as what's going on all around us.

"We never quite know what it's going to be like until it's done."

Ozomatli nudged their way into the Australian market with the party-starting Saturday Night in 2004.

Now, five studio albums into their career, with a day named after them in their hometown of LA, being named United States State Department cultural ambassadors, you wouldn't think there'd be too much left for the band to tick off their list.

One thing they hadn't done, until now, was a children's album.

Going under the name Ozokidz, the band release their first album directed at the younger market this week.

"You know we've been together for 18 years so our fans were saying they couldn't come to our shows because they couldn't find a baby sitter," Pacheco says.

"We researched it a bit with our management and our drummer really got into it. It all seemed a little corny at first but once we started it was fun for us.

"We were writing for kids in our own way so it was still really challenging for us. And I guess that was the challenge in the end, to make music that wasn't corny."

When the band head to Australia in November for Harvest Festival they'll be focusing their set on the Ozomatli back catalogue as well as a few new tracks.

Harvest Festival will be at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens November 18. Tickets $163.20, oztix.com.au.

Line-up also includes Beck, Sigur Ros, Grizzly Bear and Ben Folds Five.

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